Bally’s Chicago Casino Plans Boosted by Expedited Land Deal, 700 Jobs Posted
US casino operator Bally’s had a big week for its plans to build a $1.7 billion casino resort in Chicago.
Although it still needs the Illinois Gaming Board’s final approval, Bally’s has now reached an exit deal with the final occupant on the land it has purchased for its casino. Meanwhile, it also announced more than 700 job positions available at the temporary casino site it plans to operate in the Medinah Temple area.
If approved, Bally’s wants to open that temporary site in the Windy City as quickly as July of this year. The plan is then to have a full casino in operation in the Freedom Center 30-acre riverfront site by 2026. Bally’s has already invested more than $250 million in the project.
Clearing the Way
Bally’s bought the Freedom Center land in 2022 for $200 million, although local newspaper Chicago Tribune still had its printing plant on site. The newspaper agreed to lease the site on an ongoing basis until a license was agreed upon. But Bally’s decided it doesn’t want to wait any longer.
There was a complication. The newspaper plant’s owner, New York based investment firm Alden Capital, recently took up an option to extend the lease on the printing plant building for 10 years.
As reported in Crain’s Chicago Business, the casino operator has now bought out the paper’s lease for an undisclosed sum. Tribune agreed to leave in 2024 rather than in another decade, as originally stipulated.
That paves the way for the eventual demolition of the printing plant and the beginning of casino construction.
“We are saddened to be relocated from our long-term home at The Freedom Center, but gratified to help clear the way for an economic development project that is so important to this city,” said a spokesman for Alden Capital.
Tribune Publishing occupied the site for some 40 years. Outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) was heavily involved in picking the future site for the casino, and is unlikely to approve another option at this stage. So, Bally’s didn’t have much choice other than to pay Alden for the remainder of its lease.
Both the city government and Bally’s seem to want a casino up and running as soon as possible, with potentially hundreds of millions in tax revenues on the line for the cash-strapped state. Illinois’ pension liabilities are currently more than $210 billion, the second-largest in the country.
Bally’s has now started the recruitment process for all the job positions needed at their temporary casino in Medinah Temple on the North side of the city.
There are more than 700 new full-time and part-time job positions available, which can be found posted here on a local recruiting website. The jobs include roles in marketing, game technicians, game dealers, cashiers, housekeeping, food service, wardrobe, and warehouse operators, among others.
“We are thrilled to announce Bally’s Chicago Casino has posted all positions required to open and operate our Medinah Temple location,” said Ameel Patel, senior VP at Bally’s. “We are creating hundreds of new opportunities for the city of Chicago and are looking to hire a talented and diverse team to join us in providing our guests with exceptional gaming and entertainment experiences.”